Archiving a Wounded City: Kingston 2010
Anthropologist Don Robotham once dubbed Kingston a “wounded city,” in large part the result of the growth of urban colonial ghettos in the late 19thcentury and their transformation into garrison communities during the mid-20th. Wounds can leave scars, material traces of violent encounters, but the effects of wounds can also remain invisible. How might we create archives of the invisible scars created by the unique constellation of post-emancipation political developments in Jamaica? In this paper, I will argue that these scars are made manifest – and thus available for archiving – in the wake of moments of exceptional violence. It is in these moments that the public secrets undergirding the practices and performances of state sovereignty come closer to the surface. Tivoli Gardens community members’ narratives of what they experienced during the 2010 state of emergency, therefore, exist not only as archives of specific experiences of state violence, but also of the more general parameters of governance that map the geospatial contours of Kingston’s socio-political and economic entanglements.